Evolution may be a religion to some, but it certainly is not when simply part of properly conducted science. It is not a religion to me. It obviously was not to my fellow classmates either, for as I have indicated for they felt no need to give up Christian beliefs when they accepted evolution as a valid scientific principle. Many people have found that there is no reason to give up religious belief when accepting scientific principles.
They did not really convert to anything and they came to conclusions from their own study and through their own free will. This was not a case of people coming into a situation of being restricted from thinking freely. Actually if indoctrination was involved, it was in their previously held Young Earth Creationist beliefs that they accepted before actually being more aware through education.
Considering that properly conducted science is empirical, and nothing in evolutions bag of "evidence" is empirical, I fail to see how evolution becomes a part of "properly conducted science", nor how the two are linked.
I used to be in the same boat as you. In my early years I was a creationist, (though I was young then so it wasn't a big deal), then I became a theistic evolutionist.
The main reason for my "conversion" was the "evidences" I was told in science class. However now I have found the missing pieces from the other side and hence have concluded against evolution. Had I access to the other side in my schooling years I would never have taken evolution seriously.
This is the point everyone is making, children these days are being lead down one path, and all opportunities of anything else is being systematically eliminated. To do such is not scientific as science is open to all outcomes, (since it follows where the evidence leads TO WHATEVER END).
Thus this is indoctrination, and it is sad that it occurs in the institution setup to develop the young minds of tomorrow.
I still say, teach people HOW to think not WHAT to think, and then let evolution stand on its own merit and let people believe in it on its own merit. Rather than because it is the only thing being taught as "truth".